German tuning firm, Irmscher, is coming to the Geneva Motor Show with a peculiar concept car that it’s tagging as the ‘I SELECTRA’. Now if you’re wondering if the concept looks remarkably similar to a Caterham 7 , it’s because it actually is one. Or was one, depending on how you see it.
See, before putting their touches on the concept, the German tuner went out and stripped down a Caterham 7 and then fitted it with its own electric powertrain. We don’t really know whether to be flattered or disappointed on Irmscher’s decision to completely undress a car as iconic as a 7, but that’s an issue for another time.
What we do have is a car that does have the power to make the Caterham 7 proud, especially since it achieves those numbers by using an electric motor, which is always a good thing given the growing paradigm shift towards eco-friendly vehicles.
Details on the Irmscher i SELECTRA after the jump.
Exterior and Interior
At first glance, the i SELECTRA doesn’t look all that different from the Caterham 7 given that they pretty much share the same design characteristics. Nevertheless, the i SELECTRA does come with an aluminum frame with hydraulic shock absorbers, not to mention some styling differences from the Caterham 7. Among the differences that you’ll probably notice off the bat is that the i SELECTRA is stockier and more compact than the Caterham 7. Whereas the latter can be characterized as a smooth and svelte machine, the former looks like it’s beefier than the original 7. Another thing that’s different between the two is that the i SELECTRA comes with smaller headlights compared to the bulging spotlights fitted on the Caterham 7. Finally, you may also notice the absence of an exhaust system on the i SELECTRA, whereas the Caterham 7’s exhaust is immediately seen on its side.
Irmscher’s i SELECTRA is powered by an electric motor rated at 1,000 watts and linked to a lithium-ion phosphate battery pack that can be found under the two-seater sports car’s floor. The resulting output from this powertrain translates to about 238 horsepower and 800 Nm of torque with a driving range of up to 200 km, or about 124 miles.
Here’s where it gets a little ridiculous. Irmscher’s i SELECTRA has been priced at 90,000 Euros, or about $124,000 based on current exchange rates. Sure, it’s a powerful electric car for hobbyists and enthusiasts, but spending that much money for this car is ridiculous in our book.
Why can a car like this command such an astronomical price tag? Well, the most obvious answer is that it’s purely driven electrically, which means that you won’t have to spend a drop for fuel to make it run. The question now is if you’re willing to spend twice as much for an electric version or settle for a Caterham R500 Superlight for half the price – 45,000 ($68,000) – with a more powerful 2.0-liter Ford Duratec engine that produces 263 horsepower?
If you ask us - and this is no knock on Irmscher – we’re going to choose the R500 for half the price of the i SELECTRA. Sure, we’re giving up on the prospect of driving an electric-powered rocket, but if you think about it, cars like these aren’t the type you use for every day life. At best, these cars are weekend racers on the local track or joyrides on the countryside. So whatever kind of fuel we spend on it is mitigated by the fact that we’re not using it on a daily basis.
But that’s us.
- Electric motor saves the hassle of buying gas
- Powerful engine
- Sturdier built than the 7
- No love for the 7
- Price is way too much
- Plenty of other options to choose from